Thursday, September 03, 2015
This time I've got a small suitcase for Marion who has a quick change at Madrid airport to the ALSA bus so she won't have time to collect baggage after landing.
I've also got stuff to take to San Anton and gifts for a few people along the way. The bigger suitcase is mine.
Believe it or not, my rolled up backpack is in the pink shoulder bag together with toiletries and medication.
Passport, air ticket, bus ticket, note book and money is in the Jeep waist bag. I could walk like a medieval pilgrim with just a shoulder bag and a walking pole!
Its going to be a long journey. We'll leave home at 9h30, have the cases bubble wrapped, fly to Johannesburg at 12h10, fly to Doha after 3pm, then to Madrid after midnight arriving at 8h10; then a 4 hour bus ride to Logrono arriving at 14h45 tomorrow.
Moyra will be waiting for me at the bus station to help drag the cases to the Pension near the cathedral.
Marion arrives by bus at 7pm so we will go back to the bus station to fetch her.
One couple arrive from the USA at 10pm and we are planning on waiting up for them.
Thank heavens we don't walk until Monday!
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
amaWalkers Camino has 6 groups walking the Camino this year - 4 on the 'Best of Both' Camino Frances route from St Jean to Santiago, and 2 on the 'Complete Your Camino' from Logrono.
Marion is leading the September 'Complete Your Camino' and I will walk with her and the group as far as Burgos where I will leave them to go to the ruined monastery of San Anton where I will serve in a small shelter for 12 pilgrims until 27th September.
Marion is an experienced Camino trekker. We met in 1997 at the start of a 50km walk from Inchanga to Durban. We walked the route together and remained friends. In 2000 we ran the Comrades marathon together. In 2001 we walked the Coast to Coast in England, in 2006 the Via Francigena from Switzerland to Rome, in 2007 the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles to Santiago and in 2009 from Lourdes to Pamplona on the Aragones route and the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago. Next year amaWalkers is leading 4 groups on the Via Francigena and Marion will be one of the group leaders.
We meet in Logrono on Friday. The rest of the group should all be there by Saturday and we have planned a visit to the castle of Clavijo on Sunday, about 18km south of Logrono, where Saint James was first seen as Santiago on a white horse, brandishing his sword at the battle between Christians and Moors, slaying thousands of the enemy. The legend was first written about 300 years after the supposed battle took place and is one of the many legends of Saint James and Santiago.
On Monday we will start walking westward towards Santiago stopping at Navarrete, Najera, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Belorado, San Jaun de Ortega and Burgos. I will leave the group in Burgos and they will have an overnight excursion to Santo Domingo de Silos where the monks made Gregorian chant famous in the 1990s. They return to Burgos the next day and continue walking west for 15 more days, leaving out the sections they walked when doing the 'Best of Both' Camino and arriving in Santiago on 27th September.
The atmospheric pilgrim shelter at San Anton was created in 2002 by Ovid Field who has a pension in Castrojeriz. It sleeps 12 pilgrims in 6 double bunks and has beds for 3 hospitaleros in a container, tucked under the ruined walls. Many shelters in the middle ages catered for 12 pilgrims which is symbolic of the number of apostles. There is no electricity and no running water.
This is the notice I received about the shelter:
"THIS IS A VERY LAID-BACK PLACE. There is no strict schedule and no real “rules” except a ban on smoking indoors, littering, drug use, excessive noise, and the ever-present water shortage.
Kevin Duke from Durban is serving there from the 1 - 15 September and I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days with him during the hand over.
I will arrive in Santiago on 27th September and will meet up with 6 peregrinas from Jon's 'Best of Both' group. We are flying to Barcelona the next day and will spend a night there. Viator tickets for a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia have been booked.
When we visited last year the queue was so long that we couldn't get inside and I'm making sure that this time we will skip the queues and spend time inside the cathedral.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Guillermo Watt , Swiss pilgrim died on August 25, 1993 in Salceda (La Coruña).
Mariano Sanchez Covisa Car , Spanish pilgrim, died on September 24, 1993 in Cerceda (Arca, La Coruña).
1995 in Sahagún (León) hit by a car while returning to his country.
Jose Rodriguez Marcos, pilgrim rider 60 years, a native of Oviedo, died on July 25, 1995 between Palas de Rey and Monterroso (Lugo) following a heart attack.
Manfred Kress , German cyclist pilgrim 60, died on June 9, 1998 at Camino Real Bercianos (Leon).
Francisco Javier Fernandez Azcona , pilgrim Oteiza 34, Navarre, drowned in Finisterre on 27 March 1999 after completing his pilgrimage
Emilio Muñoz Guerrero, a pilgrim from San Sebastian de los Reyes (Madrid), died on May 4, 1999 while climbing the Alto de Erro (Navara).
Iñaki Esnal Murga , Spanish pilgrim who died on May 21, 1999 in Rabanal del Camino (Leon).
Melendo Bernedi Sabin, a pilgrim from Bilbao, 62, died on June 5, 1999 in Leon at the start of his pilgrimage.
Javier Mendez Biurrun, pilgrim of Tafalla (Navarra), died on June 22, 1999 at the hostel in Leon.
G. Clifford Noylan, pilgrim American cyclist, died on July 9 on the N-120 at the entrance of Navarrete (La Rioja) - he was run over by a truck.
Lionel Douhaud, French pilgrim, died on July 22, 1999 shortly before reaching Melide (La Coruña) he was hit by a van
A Spanish Pilgrim, born in Sabadell (Barcelona), cyclist, died near Ponferrada (León) hit by a
Miguel Angel Rocino, born in Buenos Aires, who died on 13-11-2000 aged 67.
A French Pilgrim , 78 years old, disappeared on April 3, 2002 between Saint-Jean-Pied de Port and Roncesvalles and found dead a few days later by hikers near Ortzanzurieta (Navarra).
Catherine Marie Kimpton , Canadian pilgrim, died on June 2, 2002 in Villatuerta (Navarra) hit by a car. Her husband was injured.
A French Pilgrim, walking with his wife, died June 4 in Sarria (Lugo).
Klanke Ulbrich, German pilgrim 59, died on June 25, 2002.
Braum Henrietta, German pilgrim who was struck by a vehicle on June 25, 2002 and died June 27 in Pamplona (Navarra).
José María Huerta Otero, 25 pilgrim of Cadiz, died July 11, 2002 in the shelter of Rabanal del Camino (Leon) due to meningitis.
JRBF, pilgrim Lodosa (Navarra), 49, died on August 17, 2002 in the shelter of el Ganso (Leon).
A Canadian Peregrina, 49, died in 2002 at the hostel of Sarria (Lugo).
Shingo Yamashita , a veteran Japanese pilgrim, 64-year-old was found dead on November 8, 2002 between Linzoaín and Zubiri (Navarra).
Myra Brennan (52 yrs) of Kilkenny and Sligo, Ireland, died in her sleep at the end of her second Camino in Santiago 24.06.2003
Francis J. Barte , French pilgrim and 59 Athos-Aspis, died March 5, 2003 near Valcarlos (Navarra).
Lukassen , Dutch cyclist pilgrim, died on June 7, 2003 climbing to Cebreiro (Lugo).
Bertaco Giovanni , Italian pilgrim 73, died on August 12, 2003 in Camponaraya (Leon)
Bongardt W. Hubert , German cyclist pilgrim 66, died May 18 in the town of Moratinos (Palencia) - hit by a van.
Surda Anton , Slovak pilgrim, died on May 22, 2004 in Legarda (Navarra) - hit by a car.
Chápuli Alande Vicente , Valencia Pilgrim 35, died on July 24, 2004 in San Justo de la Vega (León) - hit by a vehicle.
Barttolo Revelatto, Italian cyclist pilgrim 61, died on August 14, 2004 in Ponferrada (Leon) in his sleep at his hotel.
Robert Edmond, Pilgrim 56, died on August 21, 2004 in Valverde de la Virgen (Leon) after a stroke.
Luis Hoyos, pilgrim rider Villaba (Navarra), 24, died on August 23, 2004 in Mansilla de las Mulas (León) - run over by a van.
Ramon Gonzalez de Mendoza Diego Villacé, pilgrim of Extremadura, died on April 21, 2004.
Bernhard Stefan Jüttner, German pilgrim 63, died on September 12, 2004 in the shelter of Sahagún (León) in his sleep.
An Italian Pilgrim with terminal cancer, died on Sept. 21 at the Cathedral of Santiago after fulfilling his pilgrimage.
Zumsand Werner, a pilgrim who came from Saint Jean Pied de Port, died on May 24, 2005 in El Cebreiro (Lugo) after a heart attack.
Jean Marchandy, French cyclist pilgrim, died on June 1, 2005 in Tiebas (Navarra) hit by a vehicle.
Jose Manuel Llamazares Alvarez , 69 Spanish pilgrim coming from Oviedo, died on July 1, 2005 in Santiago de Compostela after fulfilling his pilgrimage.
PG, French pilgrim of 65 years walking with his wife, died on September 15, 2005 in the shelter of Astorga (León) after a heart attack.
Ana Teresa Hernandez, Spanish pilgrim 19, died on September 18, 2005 in Gonzar (Lugo) due to arteriosclerosis.
Torremocha Carlos Lorenzo, pilgrim and hospitalero veteran of 63 years, died on January 8, 2006 in Tres Cantos (Madrid) after a heart attack - just 15 kilometres after starting the road from his home in Madrid.
Christine Gall, French pilgrim who died after starting her pilgrimage to Saint Jean Pied de Port.
Vanhersecke Claude, French pilgrim who died after starting his pilgrimage in Le Puy.
Benno Lignau, German pilgrim veteran of 69 years who started his fifth pilgrimage at Canfranc , died on the morning of June 17, 2006 at a hotel in Mansilla de las Mulas (León) in his sleep
Inigo Ibarrondo, pilgrim from Seville, 48, began the Via de la Plata in Seville and died at the end of its second stage, on August 4, 2006 at the hostel of Castilblanco de los Arroyos (Sevilla) due to cardiac arrest.
Santino Joseph Campo and Julian Manzano , 50 and 51, both friends and strangers and hospitaleros that after a pilgrimage to Santiago on the Camino Portuguese, on their journey back home, died on August 21, 2006 in Villada (Palencia) in train accident.
Higinio Aguado, Spanish pilgrim of 67 years of age, died on September 8 in Villafranca Montes de Oca (Burgos) after suffering a fainting spell.
A Pilgrim, 62 years old, died on September 9, 2006 after Castrogeriz (Burgos) as he climbed the height of Mostelares.
Rosa Maria Seia Amorim, a Portuguese pilgrim who came by bicycle from Barcelos (Portugal), died on September 29, 2006 during the course of the last stage and close to Santiago.
Rosanna from Verona (2006) just after Zuriain
Jean Bernard Andre Gros, 65 French pilgrim who walked the road with his wife, died on the afternoon of May 14, 2007 in Palas de Rei (Lugo), while resting at a hotel.
Kelly Tomas Murillo, a pilgrim of Costa Rica 61 years old, walked with his sister from Saint Jean Pied de Port, but died in May 2007 of a heart attack.
Fuhrmeister Lambert, 76 German pilgrim, who was found dead on June 9, 2007 after passing Puente la Reina (Navarra),
Gonzalo Bañolas Bolaños , pilgrim Canary 46, died on June 26, 2007 in Burgos where he was about to start walking the Camino de Santiago.
Jesus Sanchez, pilgrim rider from Vitoria (Alava) who did the Camino with his son, was hit by a car on July 28, 2007 and died on 31 at a hospital in Orense.
Gilles Chanovin, 58 French pilgrim who came from Le Puy, died on August 7, 2007 early in the morning after being hit by a car on the slope of Pieros (Leon)
Andrés García Pelayo, pilgrim rider Algeciras (Cádiz), 41, died on September 5, 2007 after fainting while climbing the Cebreiro.
James Niergang , French pilgrim 63, died on the night of 15 to 16 October 2007 at the hostel of Nájera (La Rioja) in his sleep.
Rodrigo Grossi, pilgrim veteran and President of Astur-Leonese Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago (Oviedo), 74, died on May 18, 2008 near Tarrueza (Cantabria) of a heart attack while on North Road with their Association.
Paul Anthon Wharsop, pilgrim English cyclist, 60, died on May 30, 2008 between Valcarlos and the Ibañeta Pass (Navarra), of a heart attack.
Home Thomas Huete, Cuenca veteran pilgrim, 61, who was about to start in mid-July 2008 a new journey in Leon, when he died of a heart attack.
Francisco Javier Burgos Lizaldez , pilgrim of Zaragoza, 53, who made the road from the Somport, died on September 10, 2008 near Sangüesa (Navarra), of a heart attack.
Efferen Werner, German pilgrim who had istarted the Way in Saint Jean Pied de Port, died on September 13, 2008 in Foncebadón (Leon).
Jose Manuel Caudet Peris, a pilgrim of Valencia, 57, died on September 15, 2008 at the Cathedral of Santiago, as he climbed the steps to give the embrace of the Saint, of a heart attack.
Francisco Manuel Lopez Picasso, Malaga veteran pilgrim, 42, died on September 25, 2008 after spending the night in Castrogeriz (Burgos) and as he climbed the hill Mostelares.
Manuel Rodríguez Viña, pilgrim and hospitalero of Zaragoza, 55 years, while serving as a hospitalero in Arrés (Huesca) had to be rushed to hospital in Huesca, where he died on the night of 20 to 21 October 2008 of meningitis.
CP, Italian cyclist pilgrim, 34, died on June
Pedro Fernandez Fernandez, a veteran pilgrim and hospitalero, 60, who had to stop in May 2009 in the shelter of Samos when he fell ill died on June 22, 2009 at a hospital in Leon.
Brants Manuel Reyes, a veteran pilgrim and hospitalero of Madrid, 45, died on August 21, 2001 while serving in the shelter in Nájera (La Rioja), of a heart attack.
Mönnigmann Josef Werner, German pilgrim Sassenberg, 60, died on September 9, 2009 in the shelter of Azofra (La Rioja), of a heart attack.
Efferen Werner, German pilgrim who came from Saint Jean Pied de Port, died on September 13, 2009 in Foncebadón (Leon).
Alfons , Belgian pilgrim died on September 29, 2009 in the shelter of Mansilla de las Mulas (León), of a heart attack.
Romain Floener, luxenburgués pilgrim who did the Portuguese Way, died in late September 2009 in Porriño (Pontevedra).
Gerhard Theodor Waber, German pilgrim of Augsburg, 57, died on December 1, 2009 at a hospital in Burgos where he had to be admitted.
Manuel Jimenez, a veteran pilgrim from Madrid, 78, died early Sunday in April 25th, 2010 at the exit of Navarrete (La Rioja) while doing the 'Valvanerada', of a heart attack.
Juan Bautista Prats i Catala , pilgrim, 68, died the night of 28 to 29 April 2010 while he slept in the village of Hontanas (Burgos), of a heart attack.
Linus Gillis, Canadian pilgrim started in Saint Jean Pied de Port, 62 years old, died on May 17, 2010 in Terradillos of the Templars (Palencia).
Enrique Luis Ferraro, 77 Canadian died in Cacabelos Municipal Albergue on May 20, 2010 walking his 5th Camino
Christiaan Adrianus Van Gol Jacqueline, Dutch pilgrims made the journey by bicycle from his country, 71 years old, died on May 22, 2010 in Leon victim of cardiac arrest.
An Italian pilgrim, 31 years old, died on July 9, 2010 when he amounted Ibañeta (Navarra), due to heat stroke.
Carmelo Arnaiz Chaton, Spanish pilgrim, 68, died July 9 at the hostel of Avilés (Asturias) in his sleep, of a heart attack.
Guilio Recusani, Italian pilgrim, aged 26, drowned on August 20, 2010 in Finisterre, after completing the pilgrimage to Compostela and continuing to Finisterre.
George Kollen, German pilgrim, 67 years old, who performed the pilgrimage with a group of his nationality, died on the morning of October 16, 2010 between Portomarín and Sarria (Lugo), of a heart attack.
Angel Perez Salinas , Navarra pilgrim who came on foot from Saint Jean Pied de Port, died on April 24, 2011 unexpectedly in Palas de Rey.
Johanna Chmel, pilgrim of Austria, died on May 10, 2011 without being able to complete the Camino in Santiago.
Skov Arne Schmidt, Danish pilgrim 76, died of a heart attack about 100m after the passing ancient the Roman Bridge before Lorca. In 2012 his widow and family members erected this iron cross in his memory.
José María del Arco , a pilgrim of Ciudad Rodrigo (Salamanca), died on June 17, 2011 in Astorga in the course of their pilgrimage.
Nicole Bigo, a pilgrim from France who began his road in Le Puy en Velay, died before reaching Santiago.
Herceg-Peterdi Reka, Hungarian pilgrim walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port died in Leon.
Cornelius Bernardus Ignatius Winter, a pilgrim from Holland, died on September 7, 2011 in Ponferrada.
Franciscus Johannes Maria van Everardus Gijzel, Dutch cyclist pilgrim coming from the shrine of Santiago de Galder (Netherlands) died on October 12, 2011.
Constantine Ferrandis Campins , Mallorca pilgrim who died unexpectedly before starting his pilgrimage, his teammates made the pilgrimage on his behalf and arrived in Santiago on October 18, 2011.
Maria del Pilar Hernandez Garnes, Castellón Pilgrim began the road in Roncesvalles and reached Logroño where she became ill and died shortly afterwards.
A pilgrim Italian cyclist , 67 years old, died on April 24 in the vicinity of Fuente de Cantos (Badajoz), hit by a vehicle.
Joan Ramon Caparros Segui , Barcelona pilgrim pilgrimage began in Seville, died suddenly on May 10, 2012 on entry to Santiago de Compostela.
Mark Byron Dennis , pilgrim of Michigan (USA), 53 years old, died on May 31 in the shelter of Burgos, in his sleep.
A British pilgrim 66 years old, died suddenly on July 24 in Ponferrada, while walking on the Sil River Bridge.
Freddy Heylen , Belgian cyclist pilgrim coming from Antwerp, died on July 31, 2012 in Villafranca
A pilgrim in Sabadell (Barcelona) , 64 years old, died suddenly on August 14 in the vicinity of Castaneda (Arzúa, La Coruña), due to a heart attack.
Eric Rudolf Selman , Dutch pilgrim coming from Oviedo, died on September 26, 2012 in Arzúa (La Coruña).
RNA pilgrim Tarragona Ourense resident, 65 years old, died on September 11 in the vicinity of Lalin (Pontevedra), hit by a vehicle.
Dario Bandera , Italian pilgrim 65 years of age, who was found dead on May 23, 2013 in the mountains of Nobla as close to Undués of Lerda (Zaragoza), victim of a stroke.
Alvia train 79 passengers who died in the derailment of his convoy in the vicinity of the station of Santiago de Compostela in the evening of July 24, 2013, on the eve of the feast of St. James
A German pilgrim, 59, died in his bed of a heart attack on April 30, 2014 in the hostel Morgade (Lugo)
Pilgrim British cyclist, 71 years old, died on September 1, 2014 in Carrion de los Condes (Palencia) of a heart attack.
Vicenta Beltran Arnández pilgrim Valencian rider, 55 years old, died on September 5, 2014 at the hospital in Barakaldo (Vizcaya) of a stroke.
Japanese Pilgrim, 52, was found dead on November 13, 2014 in a farm shed near to San Juan de Ortega (Burgos).
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Sant Iago - Miraculous Myths, Fantastic Fables, and the Golden Legend - or "Will the real Santiago please reveal himself!"
Recently I put a post on Facebook listing the numerous places in Europe that claimed to have a relic of St James the Greater. Santiago wasn't the first town to claim a relic of Saint James - various relics had been around for almost 300 hundred years before he was identified in Spain.
So far I have been able to find three bodies and fifteen heads, two pieces of heads, a number of arms, hands, fingers and other limbs. I expected to be challenged with denials or disbelief. But, there has been nothing like that and not one of the 30 or so people who have replied have shown any surprise or contradiction.
I doubt the pilgrim numbers will go down!
Helene Augusta, the ageing mother of Constantine, visits Jerusalem in the 4th century and miraculously discovers the three Calvary crosses. In order to determine which is the cross used to crucify Jesus, she brings a dead girl to the site. When the girl is laid down on top of the True Cross she comes back to life!
Helene divided the cross leaving a part of it in Jerusalem and had other parts sent to religious leaders in Rome and Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul in Turkey. The first written records of the story of Helene finding the True Cross appear by the end of the fourth century.
This is only one of the legends about the cross; the 13th century Golden Legend, which became a medieval best seller, contains several versions of the discovery of the true cross, but it is the one about Helene that became the favourite in the middle ages.
The cult of Saint James was widespread across Europe and reports of his relics go back to the 6th century. According to Prof. Leyser, an arm of James the Great was preserved in Torcello near Venice from about the 6th Century. It passed through the hands of Bishop Vitalis, and then Germany via Archbishop Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen, the Emperors Henry 1V and Henry V.
In 1125 Henry V’s widow Matilda brought the left hand of Saint James to England (there is no proof that she did the pilgrimage to Santiago). In the early 1190’s a list of over 240 relics in Reading Abbey in England included ‘the hand of Saint James with flesh and bones and the cloth in which it was wrapped’ and this became the most important relic in the abbey with many miracles attributed to it.
In his book “The Cult of Santiago: traditions, myths and pilgrimages” (1927) the Rev. James S. Stone writes about the many relics of St James found in Europe.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Hospitality is, without a doubt, one of the fundamental elements that sustain the Camino. But owing to the absence of common regulations, a variety of privately owned, fixed-price “pilgrim albergues” are proliferating along the Way.
MANIFESTO: “ …..a variety of privately owned fixed-price “pilgrim albergues” are proliferating along the Way.”
Many Spanish people have opened their homes and rent out rooms to passing pilgrims. This was encouraged by Elias Valiña’s 1987 guide, which suggested that Tourist offices could help pilgrims find these rooms.
In the middle-ages thousands of French families were encouraged to relocate to the north of Spain in order to populate the country with Christians and so balance the threat of Islam and locals welcomed pilgrims into their homes. (Hence the number of towns with the name Villafranca).
There was class distinctions in the middle ages with better accommodation reserved for the upper classes, the best food allocated to the wealthy and numerous relics only displayed to a special class of pilgrim, not to the masses. Today all pilgrims are treated equally and all pilgrims have the right to choose where they want to stay.
Not every pilgrim wants to stay in a basic albergue with no beds and two showers (Tosantos, Grañon) or no electricity (Manjarin, San Anton) even if these are voted as the most spiritual albergues on the Camino.
Monasteries that traditionally provided accommodation for pilgrims in the middle-ages are now big business with tourists (and rooms are not cheap). You can buy guides to lodgings in hundreds of monasteries all over the world.
1.To begin a movement to standardize existing rules on pilgrim accommodation.
Let pilgrims be the watchdogs! Pilgrims are quick to complain and albergues that are not up to scratch, or that are unsanitary, over charge, or that have bed-bugs are soon exposed on the Camino grape-vine via social networks like forums and Facebook. There is nowhere for them to hide!
Instead of starting a movement to impose more rules, perhaps a watch-dog group to investigate complaints would be more useful.
What about traditional albergues that charge pilgrims?
In Elias Valiña’s Pilgrim Guide (reprinted 1n 1987) there is a list of 72 ‘refugios’ on the Camino Frances whose “.... maintenance depends on the AMIGOS Ayuntamientos, Religious communities, Parishes or individuals.”
There is no indication whether these refugios charged pilgrims or not but with so few donativo albergues left, I’m sure that a search to compare then and now will show that many of those that were donativo now charge – like all the municipal albergues in Galicia, the one in Santo Domingo and the convent in Leon.
According to Colin Jones of the CSJ, there were about 88 refugios in 2000 - 58 municipal, 10 private and 20 belonging to the church.
The 2002 CSJ (Confraternity of St James) guide to the Camino Frances, lists 107 refugios; only 15 more than in 1987 so not a huge growth in numbers.
Doing a rough count, there are over 400 albergues on the Camino Frances today and only 15 of these are traditional non-profit (i.e. donativo). They are in Estella, Viana, Logrono, Najera, Granon, Tosantos, Villalcazar de Sirga, Sahagun Madres Benedictinas, Bercianos del Real Camino, El Burgo Ranero, Rabanal, Parroquial de Foncebadon, Parroquial de El Acebo, Ponferrada and Samos.
If the church, or the municipalities, or the various Jacobean organisations had been able to keep up with the number of pilgrims needing accommodation, it might not have been economically viable for so many private albergues to be established. Instead, as things stand, the number of traditional donativo albergues have dropped (two of the oldest parish albergues started charging in 2013) and the private albergues have taken their place.
Fair enough - I know where they are coming from, and this is what we teach trainee hospitaleros, but I think this rule could have contributed to the bed-rush in the past! A possible solution was considered for pilgrims in Galicia in 2005 but I don’t think anything came of it. In 2005 this was posted on the St James’ forum:
“Last week the Xunta, and the new Director of Tourism, Ruben Leos, arrived at an accord whereby pilgrims that occupy the albergues will be asked to contribute to their upkeep by paying a fee which will range from 3 to 10 Euros. The income from such fees will allow the albergues to offer better service, including bed-clothing and towels, and it will also provide some means for augmenting personnel in the albergues so that claims of being a pilgrim may be looked into in such a manner that phony ones may be detected.
The good news about the proposed change is that, in addition to better services in the albergues, true pilgrims will be able to make reservations in the forthcoming albergue as they leave one. This will avoid the necessity of pilgrims starting out before dawn, in the dark, so that they may reach the next albergue by one o'clock in order to find a space. Since the reservations will be made from one albergue to another presumably the increased attention, time intervals, and tracking will uncover free-loaders pretending to be pilgrims and will provide needed ease of mind to true pilgrims.”